Sramana: I take it that your VCs are not antsy about an exit at the moment.
John Berkowitz: They are very content. In any scenario we were a good decision for them. Valuation is increasing and business is going good. We are not getting any pressure to do anything that we are not already doing.
Sramana: I would probably stay private for a while before taking this company out. It is just a hassle to be a public company today. This is a very interesting story. What else has contributed to your success?
John Berkowitz: There is one thing that we are very proud of is our culture. We are built around solid values. Every company has values, but ours might as well be tattooed on every employee. They are very real. We instilled them in the DNA of the company, and I honestly think that outside of hiring smart people that our values is one of the biggest things that we have done right. Almost every employee can cite them and embodies them. This is a company entrepreneurs can thrive in.
Sramana: Most companies that are extremely successful have founders who are deeply engaged.
John Berkowitz: I agree with you, and I am going to reference that more often if anyone questions it.
Sramana: There is enough TAM in your business that you can build a very large company. If you have the patience, you can build a very large company.
Ben Rubenstein: I think we all know when to check our ego at the door. We know we can’t build a huge organization overnight. We know that if we are going to build something large and meaningful, we need to be in this for the long haul.
Sramana: Business has two types of founders. One is the speculative founder who wants to find an opportunity and the real founders build businesses. We need more of those second type.
John Berkowitz: I agree with you 100%. There is a concept of an entrepreneur that they have to keep building businesses and moving on. Building a business is a lot of work, and I love it. There are so many people who have a short term attention span, but the reality is that you need people who want to build the business. There are so many entrepreneurs by profession who are not in it to build a great company.
Sramana: I was fired from one of my companies. I raised the capital and I was fired.
Ben Rubenstein: That happens when you try to lead!
John Berkowitz: There may have been times when our CEO has probably wanted to fire us. At the end of the day, we had common ground.
Sramana: This has been a great story. Congratulations on your success.